Immunostimulant Effects

Immunostimulant effects of garlic include an increase in proliferation of lymphocyte and macrophage phagocytosis, induction of the infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages in transplanted tumors, induction of splenic hypertrophy, increased release of interleukin (IL)-2, interferon-y, and tumor necrosis factor-a, and enhancement of natural killer cell activity. It is thought that these effects may be mechanisms of cancer prevention (49). Lau and colleagues tested an aqueous garlic extract from Japan, the protein fraction isolated from this same extract, and three additional extracts obtained from health food stores in Loma Linda, CA, for ability to stimulate murine T-lym-

phocyte function and macrophage activity in vitro. Both Japanese extracts were shown to stimulate macrophage activity, and the protein fraction from the Japanese protein extract stimulated lymphocyte activity. Of the three extracts sold in American health food stores, only one stimulated macrophage activity (68). Aged garlic extract was shown in an in vitro study to enhance the proliferation of spleen cells, augment IL-2-induced proliferation, and enhance natural killer cell activity (69).

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